Volunteers spent the day and night On Saturday February 5th using a range of techniques to see what living things could be found. From the day a whopping 428 observations were added to the Tarra-Bulga National Park project on the citizen science website www.iNaturalist.org. A number of plant and fungi species were recorded, but the vast majority of records were for an amazing array of insects and other invertebrates. Many finds that were uploaded to the website are still to be identified but so far, we can confirm that we have recorded at least 215 different species for the day, roughly 60 of them had never previously been recorded at Tarra-Bulga.
The day’s focus was mainly on invertebrates, other planned activities for the year aim to add to the flora and fauna records for the park, these include a fungi foray in May, a mid-winter walk looking at ferns and mosses, and a plant identification day as well as bird survey in spring. As well as these activities, Friends of Tarra-Bulga hold regular working bees and are always on the lookout for people interested in joining our crew of volunteers that staff the park Visitor Centre.
The following Table shows the range of lifeforms we recorded on the day.
It’s not too late to sign up for our Bio-blitz. This Saturday (February 5th) Where we will aim to record as many species of any lifeform (Insects, Birds, Plants, Fungi etc) we can find on the day. We will use the Citizen Science Website/App iNaturalist https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/ to log our findings. Conveniently the site already has a Tarra-Bulga National Park project set up that automatically records any sightings made within the Park. https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/…/tarra-bulga-national-park
As you can see it is well established already with 5.350 observations and 1,170 species recorded. We will aim to use a number of survey techniques to find as many species as possible. I think 200 species would be a good result for the day.
With iNaturalist you can download the App and upload sightings directly from a phone or you can upload any photos you take on a camera when you get back home and upload them via the website later on. If you don’t want to log your own sightings feel free to just come along and observe.
Do bring food for the day, as well as any cameras, binoculars etc that you would like to use. Contact 0488 035 314 for further information.
For anyone that is interested, Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park are going to hold a Bioblitz on Sunday February 14th. The day is intended to be a fun and casual way to start off our activities for the year. We will aim to use cameras to record anything of interest we find. The results can then potentially be added to Citizen Science apps such as the Tarra Bulga National Park project on iNaturalist https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tarra-bulga-national-park . If the weather conditions are suitable, we will also run a light sheet to attract moths and other insects on the Sunday evening.
Anyone is welcome to attend, no prior experience or knowledge is necessary. The official start time is 10am at the Visitors Centre but you could potentially join in at any time on the day. Just bring along any food or drinks you need for the day as well as any cameras, phones, binoculars etc you may have lying around. For more information or to register your interest in attending you can contact 0488 035 314 or email: email@example.com You can also register via ParkConnect https://bit.ly/39VtMRV
Conditions were fortunately very good after a wild week of strong winds, rain and even a dusting of snow on the Wednesday. As a result of the snow many fern fronds have been crushed down and were providing an obstacle along the walking tracks. The temperature was relatively mild and although you could hear the wind in the tree-tops it was not that strong. First Light was predicted at 6:52 am and the official sunrise time was 7:21.
We had 38 volunteers which was more the enough to cover all 16 monitoring locations. After meeting at 6.15 am everyone was briefed and out into the field by 6:40. Kookaburras were the first birds to start calling and were very active and noisy for quite a while. It seemed like quite a long wait until we heard our first Lyrebird at 6:58 am. Most volunteers had vacated their sites by around 7:15 am and people started filing into the Guest House for breakfast by about 7:25.
The results were collated this year during Google Earth. The bottom of Lyrebird Ridge seemed to be quite active as well as the points around the suspension bridge and the Bulga Carpark. other sites were much quieter with only one or two calls heard.
Using our call triangulation method there ended up being a couple of anomalies with the results that made the certainty of the existence of a couple of birds 100% certain. (e.g 2 monitoring sites heard it calling but a closer one did not). Overall though we came up with a total of 9 birds calling for 2019 (which is one more than last year).
Another great turnout of 34 volunteers for this year’s survey, our annual Lyrebird Survey is by far our most popular activity and once again we were able to cover all 16 monitoring sites.
Weather conditions were quite good, at 5.30am heading up to Balook there was a substantial amount of moonlight with a clear sky and some cold air, At Balook however it was darker because of cloud cover blocking the moonlight and there was a slight breeze in the treetops.
Our full crew of volunteers arrived in good time and by 6.30am everyone had arrived and signed in and by 6.45am everyone had been briefed on their tasks and had headed out in the dark to their assigned monitoring stations.
Once in position there ended up being quite an unexpectedly long wait until Lyrebird calls were first heard, only a couple of locations recorded birds calling before 7am; which was when the majority of the sites started hearing birds, the latest any group had to wait to record any calls was 7.10am. Last year (2017) every site had birds calling by 6.55am.
The official sunrise time for Saturday June 2nd at Balook was 7.22am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.52am which was almost identical to last year.
From our results we detected 8 birds calling in our search area, this figure was slightly down on recent years. It is hard to read too much into one years results but potentially the dry summer and autumn we have experience may be having an impact. Most birds appeared to be calling from forest areas with established Eucalyptus over-storey or rainforest. It would be great if some action can be taken to re-establish the original canopy species into areas of the park that have been degraded.
As usual we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations and some stations heard birds calling that were not in our survey area so are not included in the final tally.
Thanks again to AGL who generously supported the breakfast provided for the early rising volunteers.
Lyrebird Survey Results Summary Table 2010-2018
Number of Males Calling
(out of 16)
Windy making it hard to hear calls, especially in the more exposed sites.
Still and Calm
Wet, may have discouraged birds from calling. Several males sighted feeding but not calling.
We had a fantastic turnout of volunteers, which meant that all 16 sites could be covered with at least 2 volunteers at each site. (This is the first time we have covered all 16 sites since at least 2010).
Weather conditions were ideal (2nd year running) with little or no wind to muffle the sound of calls and it was not really all that cold!
Everyone got out to their respective positions in time; the earliest call was heard at 6.49am and by 6.55am every monitoring station had Lyrebirds calling.
The official sunrise time for Saturday Jun 3rd at Balook was 7.23am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.53am. So, it seems Lyrebirds are fairly well tuned to begin calling at first light.
From our results, we detected 11 male birds calling, (not sure if it would be possibly with our method to detect two birds calling in close proximity to each other, but a couple of stations noted the possibility that they could possibly hear multiple birds calling from around the same direction.
Note: we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations.
This is our second highest number of birds recorded since at least 2010.
Thanks to AGL who helped to pay for the breakfast.
Don’t miss your chance to be involved with Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park Annual Lyrebird Survey. This year it will be held on Saturday, June the 3rd. The meeting point for all volunteers is the park visitors centre at 6.15 am. The Survey takes only 30 minutes from the time the sun rises and the birds start calling, Straight after the count a free breakfast for all volunteers will be provided at the Lyrebird Cafe. To secure your place please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call David on 0488035314 by Wednesday 31/5/2017